Spain’s Minister for Home Affairs, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, stressed the need to maintain “the unity and solidarity” that the European Union and its member states have shown with Ukraine. “We have taken unprecedented measures, maintaining this unity and solidarity is a priority,” he told the meeting of EU Home Affairs ministers.
Grande-Marlaska, who was accompanied by the Secretary of State for Migration, Jesús Perea, offered Spain’s support to the Member States that are external borders and that “are under unprecedented pressure”.
The Home Affairs Minister also pointed out the need to activate EU police cooperation mechanisms in order to “fight in a coordinated manner against all criminal phenomena that may take advantage of the Ukrainian crisis”, especially against organised networks that may operate in this area.
In this regard, he indicated the need to mobilise the EMPACT network, the European Multidisciplinary Platform against Criminal Threats, which manages the coordinated action of EU countries to tackle the most serious international crime threats and which also involves agencies such as Europol, Frontex and Cepol.
Grande-Marlaska stressed that Spain has set in motion an “agile procedure” with which the Ministry of the Interior has already granted a total of 23,870 protections to refugees from the war in Ukraine since the activation, on 10 March, of the emergency mechanism established for rapid response to these requests. All protections entail a residence permit and, for those of legal age, a work permit. In addition, under the provisions of the Directorate General of Traffic, displaced persons who obtain temporary protection can legally use their driving licences in Spain for at least one year.
Madrid (5,120), Valencia (4,125), Catalonia (3,478) and Andalusia (3,245) are the autonomous communities in which the greatest number of protections have been granted.
Displaced persons arriving in Spain can apply for temporary protection at the reception centres set up by the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration in Pozuelo de Alarcón (Madrid), at the Ciudad de la Luz in Alicante and at the Fira de Barcelona, as well as at the 80 National Police stations set up for these procedures throughout Spain.